Electrical wiring-ceiling fixture

I just replaced a ceiling fan with two pendants in my kitchen. The original box had an supply line, a line going out to the rest of the lights in the house, and a line going to the switch. I marked the two white wires and one black wire that were connected to each other and not to the fan, but unfortunately, in the process, the black wire became unmarked. I replaced the ceiling box with a junction box and added a 14/2 line going over a few feet to the pendants over the island.

Now, when I turn the power on, the pendants stay on regardless of switch position, the other kitchen light comes on fine (ahead of the pendants on the run), and the bedrooms don’t get any power at all (after the pendants on the run).

I rewired my whole kitchen several years ago, but for some reason, i can’t remember all this? I assume I just confused the black wires, but can someone explain what should attach to what? Thanks!

OK, can you identify where each wire goes? You have what is called a switch loop. All the white wires except the one going to the switch should be connected together. The one to the switch should be marked black with tape or paint.

The black wire from the supply should be connected to one of the wires to the switch and to the black wires for anything expected to work with the switch off. The other wire to the switch should be connected to the ceiling light and any other lights you want to work off the switch.

With the switch off, power should flow from the supply to lights you don’t want switched andto the switch. With the switch on, power should flow to the light and the other lights you connected to it.

Note, likely you have a 15 amp breaker and it was Ok to extend the circuit with #14. If it was a 20 amp breaker, you need to replace the #14 with #12 no matter how light the load. You size breakers to the load, or code, and the wire tothe breaker. Code may require 20 amps circuit where the current load is less than that.

on my read of the OP i agree with message #2.

just to state the same in different words.

it seems that the incoming power (black) goes from the box and is split to the rest of the lights and to the switch. the power comes back to the pendant lights on the 2nd wire (sounds to be a white wire that should be marked with black tape because it now functions as a black wire) this wire should be connected to the black wire of the pendant lights. all the white wires (except the one used to come back from the switch which is now relabeled as a black wire) should be connected together.

there are some ways that a miswired switch loop (due to improper labeling of the wires) would cause the breaker to trip when the switch was thrown. it doesn’t seem you’ve done that.

it does sound like the black incoming supply wire got wired to the pendant lights and the rest of the lights elsewhere seemed like they might have got wired to the switch.

I’d be very surprised if residential kitchen had a 20 amp lighting circuit. I’ve vastly overwired my house (20 amps to the receptacles in every room, not the typical 15 amps to a couple) and I still use 15 amp circuits for lighting.

As I said, ‘‘likely you have a 15 amp breaker’’.

Alright, got sick this past weekend and couldn’t even look at the wiring, so we lived by lamps until I was back to normal. Figured out my main problem was confusing which cables went to the switch and which ones went to the rest of the house. So now that works fine.
Unfortunately, I could have sworn the breaker was 15 amp, but it’s kinda hard to see the box in out storage room, and I was wrong. It’s 20, so now I gotta go get a 15 ft piece of 12/2 to rewire the branch off. Kinda annoyed I didn’t look at it closer in the beginning, but oh well. At least the end is near. Thanks for all the replies!

Just checked and I have an extra 15 amp breaker here. Would that be bad to change the breaker instead? About 9 or 10 lights run off this.

Well, it will work, and meet code in most places.

But you are downgrading that circuit to only allow 15 amps, while the wiring can handle 20 amps (except for that part you did with #14 wire). This is only likely to trip the breaker if you are ever pulling more than 15 amps, and that’s pretty unlikely on a lighting circuit.

The other possible danger is a future one – somebody (like a new owner) notices that this 15Amp breaker is feeding #12 wire, and replaces it with a 20Amp breaker (not knowing that you wired a small part of the circuit with #14 wire). If after that, there happens to be an overload at the end of the part you wired with #14 wire, the breaker wouldn’t trip until it hits 20 amps, which is over the rated limit of that #14 wire, so it could overheat and even possibly start a fire.

This is pretty unlikely, because it requires 2 errors on top of each other, because the extension you added goes to pendant lights, not receptacles, so not very likely to be overloaded, and because most #14 wire can actually handle 20 amps for a short run. But it’s still probably better to replace the #14 wire now while you’re working at it, rather than just switch to a smaller breaker.

Alright, sounds good. I’d rather do it the right way, just figured since everyone assumed it was a 15 maybe it would be better as a 15. But I’ve honestly never really committed amperage stuff to memory. I know the basics of everything, have a great book and some pretty good hands on experience, but am by no means an electrical genius, lol. That why I ask you guys. Thanks again!

As somebody said, usually lighting circuits are 15 amp, but not always. I discovered a overloaded 20 amp circuit in a church once. It had 7 chandeliers each with who knows how many 60 watt bulbs. They had paid a professional electrician to investigate whay the light switch got hot. He replaced the white one with a stick out like a sore thumb black one. When it got hot too, I was asked to solve the problem. Did some counting and multiplying. Yes all those little decorative bulbs added up to over 20 amps. 40 watt ones fixed the problem.